A core value of Jewish Community is Tikkun Olam – repairing the world. One Friday a month we have a dress down day and all money raised is donated to a different charity organization, such as CHEO, Make A Wish Foundation and the Kosher Food Bank.
In our middle school program, students have a variety of school leadership opportunities. By taking part in community activities and leading programs and events for the younger grades, such as Reading Buddies, activity days, school assemblies and extracurricular clubs, our students become role models for their peers. Leadership lessons are reinforced in the classroom and in our many extra-curricular activities. Our Grade 6 leadership team organizes and participates in multiple local and global social action initiatives each year. They participated in the We Act Challenge with Free the Children and hold in-school fundraising events that raise money to support developing countries.
Rabbi Bulka Z”l was a towering figure in Jewish Ottawa, Jewish Canada, and Canada, and his passing left a hole too big for any one person or institution to fill and a legacy too diverse for any one person or institution to carry. As was true for many organizations in Ottawa, Rabbi Bulka played a pivotal role in the life of OJCS (née Hillel Academy). And OJCS, like so many of those organizations has been wrestling with the best way to honour Rabbi Bulka’s legacy – what could or should we do that aligns with Rabbi Bulka’s rabbinate? The answer turned out to be both obvious and powerful.
For Rabbi Bulka, “kindness” was a calling and a way of life. For Rabbi Bulka to promote kindness was as obvious as to not wear a coat regardless of weather – it is just what he did. And it was what he wanted all of us to do and to promote as well.
We will provide our students with experiences that inspire them to learn and we will help our students make personal connections between what they learn in school and the larger world around them. We want our students (and families) to recognize that part of being human is to make the world a better place, and that doing so requires both learning and doing. In other words, we want to nurture, foster, cultivate and celebrate “kindness”.
After Rabbi Bulka’s passing, we approached his family and after a meaningful set of conversations, we are thrilled to announce they have blessed us with permission to officially name this critical program the Rabbi Bulka Kindness Project. We also approached Kind Canada and we are equally thrilled to announce that the Rabbi Bulka Kindness Project will be funded by Kind Canada. What a blessing for our school and our community to be able to hold up and contribute to the perpetuation of at least one pillar of Rabbi Bulka’s legacy.
OJCS is located on the Jewish Community Campus, which serves the Jewish community of Ottawa. Our students are able to form close relationships with neighbouring organizations as they meet for community events and religious celebrations. This cooperative community environment also provides OJCS families with a variety of enrichment programs and after-school activities. Some of these partner organizations include the Soloway Jewish Community Centre, the Jewish Federation of Ottawa, Hillel Lodge, PJ Library and our feeder preschools Ganon and Early Beginnings. Also located nearby is Jewish Family Services and the Kosher Food Bank.
Our families are members of many different synagogues located across the city with whom we work to organize joint social and religious celebrations. In October 2015, our school and a local synagogue co-organized our first-ever Kids Mega Challah Bake. Another ongoing program is the OJCS Special Shabbaton Services held at different synagogues throughout the year. Our students take part in all facets of the service and have the opportunity to showcase what they have learned in school.